YouTube MarketingYouTube Original Channel Initiative Report after 7 Years

Akshay Chandra3 years ago

This article is regarding the YouTube channels initiative, which YouTube experimented back in 2011. Here we look at the progress of these Channels Initiative after seven years of its birth and 4 years after YouTube removed all the references to its original channel initiative.

What is YouTube Original Channel Initiative?

YouTube Original Channels Initiative was a $100 million program funded by Google in an early effort to compete with satellite and cable TV providers. 2011 was the time when YouTube realized that their video platform is much more worth than cat videos and skater dogs.

To kick-start their program, YouTube collaborated with celebrities like Madonna, Sofia Vergara, WWE, Rainn Wilson, comedian Kenny Hotz, pro skateboarder Tony Hawk, Amy Poehler, CSI creator Anthony Zuiker among many others. They also invited independent content creators on YouTube like Frederator Networks, Philip DeFranco, Green brothers to create something that resembles an evolution of their own YouTube channels.

After one year of launching this program, only 30-40% of the original line-up found success in generating impressive viewership. YouTube rolled out another round of funding worth $200 million to support those surviving YouTube channels.

By that time, only 25 YouTube channels generated more than 1 million views a week, with 35 “Original Channels” had over 100,000 subscribers.

In 2013, November, YouTube removed their affiliation with all those 185 YouTube channels and redirected original channels initiative to a 404 error page.

7 years later, when we look at the list of YouTube channels that were created with the partnership of content creators from various backgrounds, there are about 100 successful YouTube channels that are still generating millions of viewership.


Out of 185 YouTube original channels
100 Channels Active
85 Dead
31 YouTube Channels with 1 million  
17 YouTube Originals with 500 thousand subscribers

Top 3 Viewed –


Top 3 Subbed –

Total Viewership – 46 billion +
Total Subscribers – 129 million

Category That Flopped The Most –

Health, Home & Garden, Urban, Comedy, and Hispanic

Most Successful Category –

Automotive, Film & Animation, Science & Technology, Women’s Interests, Beauty, and Gaming
Category with most Partners – Entertainment (52)

Best Ranked –

WWE – 7
MachinimaPrime – 48
Vice – 154
Red Bull – 240
Mondo – 246
Crash Course – 264
Howcast – 300
Awesomeness – 342
SciShow – 441
TEDEducation – 467


Akshay Chandra

Being an artist, movie buff and a media enthusiast, content writing is my career train. I am a proud alumni of Symbiosis Institute of Media Communication (Pune) and currently working for Vidooly.

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